Philips Fidelio L3: new challengers in the noise-cancelling headphones race

Philips Fidelio L3 noise-cancelling headphones
(Image credit: Philips)

Philips has expanded its flagship Fidelio headphone range with an all-new pair of wireless, noise-cancelling over-ears.

The L3s – which join the recently launched wired, open-back Fidelio X3s – aim to take on the likes of Sony, Sennheiser and Bose in the premium noise-cancelling headphones space. To give them the best fighting chance against such esteemed rivals, the L3s sport a number of flagship features, such as a 35-hour battery life (30 hours with active noise-cancellation continually on), complete with quick charging offering six hours of playback from just 15 minutes.

Support for aptX HD and Bluetooth 5.0 promises some of the stablest wireless connectivity around, while the noise-cancellation system itself uses no fewer than four microphones to block out external sound. An extra mic onboard is purely dedicated to removing background sounds doing voice calls, and Philips has chosen a combination of memory foam and leather ear pad cushioning to help passively keep out unwanted noise, too.

(Image credit: Philips)

Further to the practicality of the design, the L3s share a similar aesthetic with previous Fidelio headphones, with the ear cups suspended by an open aluminium holding frame, and the metal headband wrapped in Muirhead sustainable leather.

As for the all-important audio performance, Philips has designed bespoke 40mm drivers that have been dampened with a three-layer construction that includes PEEK polymer. 

The Philips Fidelio L3 will be available from December with a price tag of £300 (€350, about AU$599). It’s all there on paper, but will they have what it takes oust the similarly priced, class-leading Sony WH-1000XM4s? We shall endeavour to find out very soon.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.